Pinched Nerve in Neck: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Neck pain can be caused by a pinched nerve in the neck coming from a bulging disk. This pinched nerve pain can be excruciating. The neck pain may have come on for no apparent reason yet it just wont go away no matter what neck position, arm position, sleeping position, massaging, or pain killer drugs you take. Today I want to look at the symptoms, causes and self-treatment options you have for a pinched nerve in neck pain.

Pinched Nerve in Neck Symptoms

Like I said above a pain in the neck can start for no apparent reason like most back pains. However, how people explain the neck pain symptoms can help tell you if it is more a pinched nerve pain problem you may have.

Here are some of the common pinched nerve symptoms people may say with a neck pain:

  • I woke up and lifted my head off the pillow and felt my neck twinge. It then slowly got worse and worse over the day.
  • The pain in my shoulder going down my arm into my elbow feels like it is in the bone.
  • The tips of my fingers having pins and needles feeling and feel numb.
  • I can’t turn my head when I am driving.
  • I feel I need to lift my arm above my head to get some pain relief.
  • This is the worst pain I have ever felt in my life.

These are just some of the common pinched nerve in neck symptoms people may say. So what are the common trapped nerve causes.

Pinched Nerve in Neck Causes

The two most common causes for a pinched nerve in your neck usually are:

  1. Bulging Disc in the Neck – In your spine you have these intervertebral disks between nearly every vertebrae bone in your neck. The only place you don’t have a disc is between C0-1 and C1-2 spinal levels. The disc in the neck can just be a bulging disc or a ruptured herniated disc.
  2. Osteo-Arthritis in the Neck – This is a condition that develops over time. If you had a motor vehicle accident with bad whiplash when you were say in your 20′s you could already start seeing the degenerative changes in your neck by the time your in your 30′s. This neck pain cause is typically diagnosed with a neck x-ray or MRI scan. It may also be called spondylosis by a radiologist on the imaging report.

Here is a great video originally put on the post about trapped nerve in neck showing you the neck anatomy. The following video will show you what a cervical disc in your neck looks like, the different parts of the cervical disc (nucleus pulposus & annulus fibrosis), the spinal cord with the exiting spinal nerve.

Pinched Nerve in Neck Relief

So you know what the symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck are, you know the two most common causes of a pinched nerve in the neck, but now you need some neck pain relief.

Well here are some simple home treatments you can do to help give yourself some pinched nerve pain relief.

  1. Bakody Sign Position – the bakody sign is both an orthopaedic test and a pinched nerve treatment. The idea is when you lift your arm above your head and have your hand resting on top of your head this should take some of the pressure off the pinched nerve going into the left or right arm.
  2. Neck Posture – I know this is hard when your neck is in a spasm and it is so sore to move the neck. However, trying to avoid arching your neck back could help take the pressure off the neck bulging disk a bit and take the pressure off the spinal joints that could be inflamed. The bad neck posture is when you have your chin jutting out and a hunched upper back. So gently pulling your chin back into your throat and a little bit of forward bend (flexion) in your neck could be pain relieving.
  3. Hot and Cold Packs – the rule is usually heat is used for muscle tightness and neck spasms whilst ice is used and a natural anti-inflammatory and pain killer. Both hot or cold pack son your neck could help calm the pain levels down a bit. So this is when you might warm one of those microwaveable wheat bags up and wrap it around your neck or use one of those blue gel ice packs in a protective cover on the base of your neck for 20mins at a time.
  4. Memory Foam Pillow – the aim of a memory foam pillow is to give a pressure relieving effect on your neck muscles. The memory foam should sink with the heaviest part of your head whilst the foam then comes up to support your neck. There are many different memory foam brands and shapes on the market. Probably most people would like a classic shape memory foam pillow not only the contoured neck pillow.
  5. Neck Exercises – trying to do neck exercises for a pinched nerve can be very hard in the begging because of the lack of neck movement possible due to pain. Maybe a good place to start would be with neck isometric muscle contractions. An isometric muscle contraction is when you tighten the muscle without moving the neck or head. So you could push your head to the left or right into the palm of your hand which would stop the head and neck from moving but let you contract the muscle on the side of your neck.